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Independent Voice

"No One Follows the Rules"

May 07, 2021 12:00AM ● By Debra Dingman

The lack of parking spaces for the number of residents at the Heritage Commons senior housing complex is a major problem and tow trucks are becoming a regular sight. At least one resident thinks he has a solution, but management hasn't been responsive. Photo by Debra Dingman

Heritage Commons Part 2

DIXON, CA (MPG) - After reporting on complaints and alleged criminal activity making senior citizens fearful and concerned about their futures at Heritage Commons, an affordable Senior housing community located at 191 Heritage Lane, we offer the second part of the story. Heritage Commons is positioned along South First Street across from the Valley Glen Subdivision and was built in 2013 with additional apartment buildings added after that, and now Heritage Commons 3, which has two smaller apartment complexes is being built now. Residents in 1 and 2 say there are some escalating problems that management is not addressing.

Manager Turnover

“The manager is supposed to live upstairs but no one has lived there in two years,” said another resident and “during the fires, there was not even staff, leaving residents scared and under stress constantly.” This reporter did speak with Manager Danielle Marquis who said she did live there but was leaving the company. The newspaper has learned as of press time, she has already left.

“We’ve been instructed that none of the staff are to talk to reporters,” Marquis said. “We are so overwhelmed with COVID, we will get back to you but that may not be in a timely manner,” she added.

The seniors say that they have experienced high turnover in managers for the past few years, citing that each one is enthusiastic and “on a mission” for change and improvement with seniors being forced to deal with ever-changing expectations as seemingly trivial as decorations outside their front doors.

“But nobody abides by the rules,” said a tired-sounding second floor tenant. “There are no animals on leashes, bare feet...it’s beginning to look like a slum.”

“Each [manager] has a different focus and usually goes ‘gung ho’ but they don’t do their homework,” a tenant said, leaving the tenants confused about simple “rules” like decorating the front door area.

Zip Recruiter and other online job sites posted a job opening for Property Manager on April 10. Two other positions, an Assistant Manager and Janitor were listed a week before that. All are full time positions with benefits.

The Manager job description reads: College (BA administration) preferred but not required. Responsible for the overall operation of the property and the day to day implementation of policies, procedures and programs that ensure a well-managed, well-maintained building and ensures compliance with all applicable regulatory agencies and federal, state and local laws. This position includes a unit on site. The duties include ensuring consistent application of property rules and regulations, lease documents and report all violations.

Although press was unable to reach Jon Stewart personnel, their website says that they “...reach beyond traditional management services of maintenance and budgeting and strive to create community environments that foster high levels of physical, social, and emotional well-being among residents.”

Parking Conflicts

Listening to voiceful residents, parking was cited as the number one issue. It is understandable that between construction of Heritage Commons 3 and the Governor’s stay-at-home order plus pandemic restrictions equaled a disaster in the extremely limited parking lots. Two women reportedly brawled over a handicap space recently.

On almost all sides of the buildings there are rows of individual signs on metal poles in front of each parking space noting they are reserved with a few marked for ADA parking.

“By default, if you meet the requirement to be in this building, you also meet the requirement for an ADA placard,” said a male resident who added that he has figured out some solutions but can’t get management’s ear.

The disabled spots have one parking space next to a white-lined space for a ramp and wheelchair path so essentially take up two parking spots. If a wheelchair user takes a regular parking space because they could not find one with the extra space and path, they often will consume two parking spaces.

Another cause for the parking problem is residents having children and relatives park two to three days at a time, residents say. There is a policy that management issues a visitor’s pass but residents say if a guest comes on the weekend, there is no one to get it from and there is no one to return calls left on the answering machine until Monday.

“Residents are being forced to park outside on the streets. We have walkers and canes and cannot easily get to our homes,” one tenant said. “There are other properties in Woodland and Sacramento, and I wonder if these things are happening there.”

Currently, there are 115 units and only 90 parking spaces. Some have been told that this was because they accounted for some either using public transportation or not driving.

“But even when someone doesn’t have a car, they have a caretaker,” said the man.

In Heritage Common 3, there will be 44 units and only 26 parking spots. The Jon Stewart Company has yet to respond to the Editor’s requests for information or interview.

This newspaper will continue to investigate these concerns.

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